Date of Graduation
Doctor of Philosophy in Community Health Promotion (PhD)
Health, Human Performance and Recreation
Second Committee Member
Third Committee Member
experience sampling methodology, measure development, sexual consent
Background: Sexual consent is often conceptualized as an internal willingness to engage in sexual activity, which can be communicated externally to a sexual partner. Preliminary evidence indicates that people’s sexual consent varies from day to day. Study designs that assess sexual consent at multiple time points (e.g., experience sampling methodology [ESM]) are needed to better understand the within-person variability of sexual consent; however, extant validated measures of sexual consent are not appropriate for ESM studies, which require shorter assessments due to the increased burden this methodology has on participants. As such, the goal of this dissertation was to develop valid ESM measures of sexual consent and then administer them in an ESM study.
Methodology: In Manuscript 1, I selected items that demonstrated face validity as evidenced by cognitive interviews (n = 10) and content validity as evidenced by experts’ ratings (n = 6). To assess the construct validity and feasibility of these items, I administered the selected ESM measures of sexual consent in a seven-day pilot study (n = 12). In Manuscript 2, I conducted a 28-day ESM study (n = 113) to assess whether and how internal consent feelings and external consent communication vary from day to day.
Results: In Manuscript 1, the results suggested that the ESM measures developed in the present study were valid and feasible assessments of people’s day-to-day internal consent feelings and external consent communication. In Manuscript 2, I found that more than 50% (and up to 80%) of the variance in sexual consent scores could be accounted for by within-person variability. Using multilevel models, I further found that internal consent feelings predicted external consent communication when accounting for both within- and between-person variability.
Conclusion: Overall, the findings of this dissertation provided initial evidence regarding the extent that situational contexts are relevant for sexual consent. Future research on sexual consent should consider using ESM study designs to investigate the potential momentary contextual, intrapersonal, and interpersonal factors of individual partnered sexual events that are associated with people’s internal consent feelings and external consent communication. I concluded with recommendations for sex researchers interested in ESM.
Willis, M. (2020). Within-Person Variability of Internal and External Sexual Consent. Graduate Theses and Dissertations Retrieved from https://scholarworks.uark.edu/etd/3758